How a Ballet Company Unites Russians and Ukrainians, One Show at a Time


MONROE, La. (KNOE) — The Russian Ballet Theater (RBT) performed at the Monroe Civic Center on March 9.

RBT is an independent American company with dancers from ten countries, including Russia and Ukraine.

As the war in Ukraine rages on, RBT says they are dancing for peace.

“Nobody supports war, nobody wants this war,” Ukrainian dancer Tsembenhoi Arno-Stin told KNOE.

“We are living proof of how different nations come together on one stage and create something beautiful instead of destroying it,” explained the show’s producer, Gulya Hartwick.

In this army, they choose solidarity rather than combat.

“We would cry out against war if we could, but we are dancers,” Hartwick explained. “So we dance for peace.”

Arno-Stin grew up in Kyiv. He says most of his family fled to Poland, but his grandparents stayed. He thinks of them with every pirouette.

“Because I want to see my family,” he told KNOE. “I want to see the streets where I grew up, my friends. It’s my hometown. How a man can feel when I can’t come home.

Arno-Stin is confident one day he will return home to Kiev in peacetime.

“We are so proud of our homeland, of our nation, of our humanity,” Arno-Stin explained. “Our country is proud of us, and we are proud of the country.”

A lesson to the world that unity prevails one performance at a time.

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